While using coffee grounds in the garden offers quite a few benefits, they can be slightly acid and therefore not appropriate for all plants. So which plants like coffee grounds? Here’s what you’ll need to know.
Coffee Ground Basics
Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which is an essential element needed by all plants in order to make chlorophyll. It’s also vital for the proper growth and development of both tissues and cells.
Their high nitrogen content and the fact that they’re all-natural means many gardeners use coffee grounds as fertilizer for their plants. But since they can be slightly acidic, if you will be applying them regularly they can influence the pH of your soil making it more acidic as well.
So while all plants can benefit from the nitrogen in grounds occasionally, they are often used for acid-loving plants in particular. Luckily there are many plants that love slightly or even a bit more acidic soil.
Popular garden flowers that will thrive in acidic conditions include such examples as marigolds, daffodils, and the famously fragrant lily of the valley. Of course you’ll want to remember that while lily of the valley is safe to touch, it is poisonous when eaten.
So it can be very dangerous for curious kids and pets. Blue hydrangeas also require acidic soil, and without it they can lose their color. In fact you can actually turn pink hydrangeas blue with coffee grounds since regular applications will increase soil acidity.
Roses have their best blooms in slightly acidic soil and for this reason many gardeners use coffee grounds for roses. Schrubs such as azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias, and Japanese Pieris also will do well when supplemented with grounds.
Blueberries and strawberries both need acidity as well. And using coffee grounds for tomatoes will help to provide the soil conditions they need for optimal growth.
Regardless of how you apply the your coffee grounds you’ll always want to make sure you let them cool down to room temperature first to avoid killing helpful microbes and bacteria or even damaging the plants themselves.
Directly To The Soil: Before placing your plants in the ground you can mix a layer of coffee grounds into the soil about six to seven inches deep. If your plants are already in place, sprinkle a thin layer of coffee grounds around plants on top of the soil.
Adding a layer which is too thick however can end up blocking both water and air from reaching the roots of the plants below. By placing a couple inches of mulch on top of the layer of grounds it will help them to break down faster giving your plants quicker access to the nitrogen they contain.
In The Compost: Placing your grounds in the compost is another option. By doing this it gives them time break down and release their nitrogen and other benefits into the compost. After three or four months the compost can then be added as a layer on top of your garden soil.
When using coffee grounds in compost you’ll want to remember to limit the total amount of grounds used to twenty percent of your bin or pile for optimal benefits. And don’t forget to throw your paper coffee filters in the compost too.
Now that you know which plants like coffee grounds you can get started putting them to good use in your garden and cutting down on waste. Simply choose the method which is the most convenient for you.
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